Ghana is attempting to formalize the treatment of electronic garbage (e-waste) in order to ensure that precious metals are securely recovered and repurposed. E-waste is defined as abandoned electronic equipment that is powered by electricity/battery/solar power and that is no longer acceptable for the owner’s usage but still has a purpose. Currently, the informal sector handles 97 percent of the country’s e-waste, while formal entities account for barely three percent. This was said by Dr Vincent Nartey Kyere, E-Waste project team leader at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), during the Ghana Association of Agricultural Economists (GAAE) Southern Zone’s third conversation series in Accra.
The event, titled “E-waste and its Impact on the Environment and Livelihoods in Ghana,” aimed to educate members and the general public about the hazards of e-waste and food safety, as well as their management and benefits if managed properly. Dr. Kyere stated that around 20% of electronic devices shipped into the country were rubbish, 60% were valuable metals, 15% were plastic, and 2.7% were dangerous pollutants.
Despite the fact that a small percentage of e-waste contained harmful elements and had been identified as a source of health, agriculture, and environmental problems, he claimed it also contained rich minerals such as gold, silver, platinum, copper, aluminum, nickel, tin, zinc, and iron.
Dr Kyere mentioned that it was important to formalize the collection and dismantling of e-waste in the country because it was the source of livelihood for a section of the public who were in the value chain. He stated that “effective recycling of valuable resources from e-waste could be an avenue and contribute to the country’s emission reduction target as part of the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.” He also stated that “acres of vegetation that were removed to mine these minerals” should be conserved.